Campaigners’ case against plans for waste incinerator near Bedford to be heard in the High Court

Covanta protest
Covanta protest

Villagers fighting plans to build a giant incinerator on the doorstep are celebrating a major breakthrough.

Campaign group Bedfordshire Against Covanta Incinerator (BACI) lodged their claim bundle with the High Court last month.

And a judge has now found that the group “identified arguable grounds” to have their case heard.

Nicola Ryan-Raine , chairman of BAC, said: “This is the best outcome we could have hoped for.

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to put evidence before the courts – and challenge the actions of the Environment Agency and the intentions of Covanta.

“The judge questioned whether the Environment Agency (and indeed Covanta’s) statements had sufficiently satisfied the statement that ‘the outcome would not have been substantially different’ if our observations had been addressed.”

Covanta is a private firm hoping to build a facility capable of converting about 585,000 tonnes of household and business waste into 65MWe of electricity every year.

The chosen site is a used clay pit near Stewartby, close to the Millennium Country Park in the middle of the Forest of Marston Vale.

However, although Covanta would build, pay for and run the facility, the legal fight will be against the Environment Agency, with Covanta as an interested party.

The hearing will now be heard in a two-day substantive hearing in the High Court, on a date to be arranged.

The saga of the energy from waste incinerator goes back nearly a decade, with the now-abolished Bedfordshire County Council original proposing to build an incinerator.

The story appeared to have come to an end in January when the Environment Agency issued a permit for the plant.

However campaigners immediately began their legal efforts to overturn the decision.

BACI spokesman Colin Raine added: “The fight is by no means over – but BACI’s grounds for judicial review will now be in a public lawful arena – which will ensure that every minute detail of the legal claim will have to be considered.”

To join or help BACI’s campaign visit https://bedsagainstincinerator.wordpress.com/ways-you-can-pledge-contribute/